Green Industrial Revolution: Growing economy, employment and the environment
Green Industrial Revolution is an ambitious and comprehensive effort to fundamentally transform the way we produce and consume goods and services, and to reduce the negative environmental impacts of industrial activities.
In this article, I’ll be looking at SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth, paying special attention to the green recovery plans that some countries and unions have launched. I have five projects that I want to introduce to you, and I encourage you to go away and research them further.
Here’s how we went from the first industrial revolution to the fourth industrial revolution.
What is Green Industrial Revolution
The green industrial revolution is a term that refers to the transition to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly economy. It is characterized by the increased use of renewable energy sources, the adoption of energy-efficient technologies, and the development of clean and environmentally friendly industries.
The goal of the green industrial revolution is to reduce the negative environmental impacts of industrial activities and to create a more sustainable future. This transition is driven by a variety of factors, including advances in technology, changing consumer preferences, and government policies and regulations. The green industrial revolution is a key part of the global effort to combat climate change and to build a more sustainable and equitable future for all.
The green industrial revolution involves a wide range of efforts and initiatives, including the development and deployment of renewable energy technologies, the adoption of energy-efficient technologies and practices, and the promotion of clean and environmentally friendly industries. It also involves efforts to reduce waste and promote resource efficiency, as well as the development of new business models and economic systems that prioritize sustainability and social responsibility.
Table of contents:
- What is Green Industrial Revolution
- Why do we need a green industrial revolution?
- Different categories of the green industrial revolution
- UK ten point plan for a green industrial revolution
- France and Switzerland – Roadmaps to Net Zero by 2050
- Next Generation EU
- ASEAN Green Economic Recovery
- Is the green industrial revolution achievable?
- Our opinion of the green recovery in 3 key points
Why do we need a green industrial revolution?
There are several reasons why we need a green industrial revolution:
1. Climate change
Industrial activities are a major contributor to climate change, as they release large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. A green industrial revolution can help to reduce these emissions and mitigate the negative impacts of climate change.
2. Resource depletion
The world’s natural resources are being depleted at an unsustainable rate, as we extract and consume more than the earth can replenish. A green industrial revolution can help to reduce resource use and promote resource efficiency, which can help to conserve natural resources and protect the environment.
3. Environmental degradation
Industrial activities can also have other negative impacts on the environment, including air and water pollution, habitat destruction, and loss of biodiversity. A green industrial revolution can help to reduce these impacts and protect the environment.
4. Social and economic benefits
A green industrial revolution can also have positive social and economic benefits, including the creation of new jobs, the expansion of economic opportunities, and the improvement of public health and well-being.
Overall, the green industrial revolution is necessary to create a more sustainable and equitable future for all, and to address the pressing environmental and social challenges we face as a global community.
Different categories of the green industrial revolution
The green industrial revolution involves a wide range of efforts and initiatives, which can be grouped into several main categories:
1. Renewable energy
The development and deployment of renewable energy technologies, such as solar, wind, and hydropower, is a key component of the green industrial revolution. These technologies can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to diversify energy sources, which can help to improve energy security and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
2. Energy efficiency
Improving the energy efficiency of buildings, appliances, and industrial processes is another important aspect of the green industrial revolution. This can involve the adoption of energy-efficient technologies and practices, such as LED lighting, insulation, and energy-efficient appliances, as well as the implementation of more efficient industrial processes.
3. Clean and environmentally friendly industries
The development of clean and environmentally friendly industries is another key component of the green industrial revolution. This can involve the promotion of industries that have a low environmental impact, such as recycling and waste management, as well as the development of new technologies and practices that can help to reduce the negative impacts of traditional industries.
4. Resource efficiency
Reducing waste and promoting resource efficiency is another important aspect of the green industrial revolution. This can involve efforts to reduce the use of natural resources, such as water and raw materials, as well as the promotion of circular economic models that minimize waste and maximize resource reuse.
5. Sustainable Transportation
Promoting sustainable transportation is another key component of the green industrial revolution. This can involve the development and deployment of electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as the expansion of public transportation and the development of infrastructure for cycling and walking.
Overall, the green industrial revolution involves a wide range of efforts and initiatives that are focused on creating a more sustainable and environmentally friendly economy.
UK ten point plan for a green industrial revolution
In November 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the outline of his 10 point plan for a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’. Here are some of the key ideas:
- 250,000 jobs to be created
- Investment for clean energy, transport, nature, and innovation
- £12bn in investment over the next 9 years
- Quadrupling wind power to support every home
- Increase low-carbon hydrogen production
- More nuclear reactors
- Better infrastructure for electric cars and more support for manufacturers
- More research into low-carbon tech for planes and ships
- Promoting public transport as a low-carbon travel method
- Making homes and public buildings more energy-efficient
- Becoming a world-leader in carbon capture technology
- Protecting and restoring the natural environment
- Making London the centre of green global finance
Let’s be honest, this is a pretty solid list, and if the ambition and investment meet the goals, it will certainly go a long way towards the progress that we need. Will it all just be hot air and imagination at the end of the day? Populism has a real knack for telling us what we want to hear.
France and Switzerland – Roadmaps to Net Zero by 2050
France’s ‘National Low Carbon Strategy’ is less specific than the UK in terms of where it will target, but it does give a good overall indication of the direction they plan to move it. These are the key aims to reach carbon neutrality:
- Energy production needs to be completely carbon-free by 2050
- Reduce energy consumption by 50% in our daily lifestyles
- Tackle key industries for carbon reduction, such as agriculture and the industrial industry
- Safeguard forests and soil
- Promote carbon capture and storage technologies
- Working on trade agreements to incentivise sustainable products and methods
Switzerland’s ‘Long-Term Climate Strategy’ is also a roadmap to a net-zero future by 2050. The main points of their strategy are:
- Take advantage of the opportunities presented by a systematic transition to net-zero, meaning to leverage the ideas and tech of other nations too
- To take responsibility for its climate policy
- Placing a priority on domestic emissions
- Reducing emissions in all value chains
- Find and enact the optimal usage potential of energy sources
- Address and pursue net zero in all climate-relevant areas
- To act in a socially acceptable and economically viable way
- To improve environmental quality
- To be open to all types of technology in this strategy
Next Generation EU
Detailing the Next Generation EU project would be very difficult, as it contains €750bn worth of projects, initiatives, ideas, and policies for the 27 member states. Instead, I’ve cherrypicked the highlights.
- Push the circular economy to increase local jobs
- Renovate buildings and infrastructure (using the circular economy principles)
- Introduce more renewable energy, especially, wind, solar, and hydrogen
- Cleaner transport – 1 million electric vehicle recharging points and cleaner rail travel
- Investing in re-skilling to help close the skills gap
- Developing internet connectivity to drive connectedness and opportunity
- More AI, cybersecurity, supercomputing, and cloud technology
- Building a real data economy for innovation and job creation
- More support for workers and businesses
- Digital skills development for all EU citizens
ASEAN Green Economic Recovery
Asia has been one of the worst-hit regions economically during Covid, with the 42% economic shrinkage of Singapore just one example. In other parts of Asia, where production is the main form of business and employment, the closing of factories and industries has had a drastic effect. One side effect of not being at work is the huge increase in domestic energy demand. This has led to increased load-shedding across the continent. To help citizens, almost all of Southeast Asia saw governments subsidise energy costs for individuals.
Here’s what they plan to do next:
- Increased connectivity
- More supply chain efficiency
- Human capital and mobility
- Greater levels of renewable energy production
- Design recovery packages that kill two birds with one stone, such as investing in net-zero emissions to create jobs and solve environmental problems
- Invest in regional expertise and suppliers as opposed to looking west
- Universal health and electricity access
- Increasing transparency in business and governance
- And sadly, increasing coal production
Is the green industrial revolution achievable?
The green industrial revolution is certainly achievable, but it will require significant effort and commitment from governments, businesses, civil society, and individuals around the world. Achieving the full potential of the green industrial revolution will involve a wide range of efforts and initiatives. Like the development and deployment of renewable energy technologies, the adoption of energy-efficient technologies and practices, and the promotion of clean and environmentally friendly industries. It will also involve efforts to reduce waste and promote resource efficiency, as well as the development of new business models and economic systems that prioritize sustainability and social responsibility.
There are already many examples of successful green industrial revolution initiatives around the world, and the adoption of these technologies and practices is increasing. However, there is still much work to be done to fully transition to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly economy. This will require strong and consistent policies and regulations. Furthermore, the support and engagement of all stakeholders. It will also require significant investments in research and development, to drive further innovation and technological progress.
Overall, while the green industrial revolution may be challenging, it is certainly achievable with the right approach and the commitment of all stakeholders.
Our opinion of the green recovery in 3 key points
- Robust and aligned
- Disruption to the financial side
- Driving future STEM skills now
When I look at these economic plans for recovery and how they try to align with net-zero and lower emissions, I ask several questions. Are these ideas robust enough to succeed? Do they cause enough disruption and financial change to avoid falling back into the ‘old ways’? Are we doing enough to help the next generation of professionals who have to live in the new world that lives at the end of the recovery plan?
The jobs we create have to align with the targets we are setting for ourselves. I keep saying this, and time and time again I wonder how many others see what I am seeing. Fishing and agriculture rely on global warming not exceeding a certain threshold, so if we don’t work on that, what’s the point in investing in sustainable fishing? A circular economy can create 16 million jobs, but how many of them are within industries that could collapse in the next decade?
Stop the subsidies, start the disruption.
Oil, gas, fishing, the industries all get massive payouts from the government to continue operating. Even their business model is clearly unsustainable. It’s time for a change.
Invest in the jobs that don’t exist yet. At what point will we realise that today’s students need to be taught sustainability and transferable skills. 10 years ago nobody dreamed of being a junior cryptographer, a digital marketing executive, or a social media consultant. Emerging technologies will come, and since we can’t teach exactly how to use them, we can teach the right mindset and digital skills to get there. The World Economic Forum predicts that 65% of children starting primary school now will work in jobs that don’t exist yet.
What is green industrial revolution?
The green industrial revolution refers to the shift towards a more sustainable, low-carbon economy that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, promotes renewable energy, and fosters a circular economy.
What is UK ten point plan for a green industrial revolution?
The UK’s ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution is a government-led initiative aimed at accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy. The plan focuses on areas such as offshore wind, hydrogen, electric vehicles, public transport, and energy-efficient buildings, with the aim of creating jobs and driving economic growth while reducing carbon emissions.
What is the aim behind the green industrial revolution?
The aim behind the green industrial revolution is to transition to a more sustainable and resilient economy that reduces carbon emissions and helps mitigate the impacts of climate change. The goal is to create a cleaner, healthier environment, while also driving economic growth, creating jobs, and fostering innovation in green technologies.